2 Peter 1:1-5
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.
Like 1 Peter, 2 Peter is believed to be a pseudonymous letter, one written in the name of an apostle, usually by a close follower who wishes to honor him, as well as to lend authority to the letter. Why do scholars not believe it was written by Peter himself? In Chapter 3 he speaks of Paul’s letters as having already been collected and circulated, which happened after Paul’s death, and Peter died in 65 AD, along with Paul. He speaks of something as having been spoken through the apostles, again a phrase used after the death of the apostles. He also speaks of the Mount of Transfiguration as “the Holy Mountain”, a term of reverence that came later, not a reporting of events, as Peter would have done. (Boring & Craddock, "The People’s New Testament Commentary").
We do not have a date for this letter, but the above references are common to the latter part of the first century, probably 85 – 90 CE. It is a general letter, written to be circulated rather than to a specific church.
The letter begins with a greeting (verses 1 & 2). In the name of the Apostle Peter, the author greets fellow believers. He blesses them with abundant grace and peace through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Verses 3 – 11 are a summary of God’s blessings and the believer’s appropriate response. Verses 3-5 use repetition and have a rhythm that would seem to indicate the author is quoting a hymn or responsive recitation. He speaks first of the power of Christ in their lives – through his own glory and goodness, Christ has given his followers life and godliness. Christ provides his followers with all that is needed, the strength to be good people, the power to follow him, to avoid the temptation of the corruption of the world created by lust. ( One aim of the letter is to encourage the author’s readers in holding onto Christian morality and an ethical way of life.) Through Christ’s promises the readers can escape from a life of corruption to become participants in the divine nature – in other words, they, and we, by following Christ, become less like the world around us and more like Christ.
As followers of Christ, and participants in the Holy Spirit, we too are given the strength to follow him, to love our neighbors and to fight temptation. We live into the Kingdom of God through his gift of grace, his strength, and his love.